A South Yorkshire man narrowly avoided jail and a hefty fine for failing to turn up to his girlfriend’s inquest because he was being treated ‘like a slave’ in Scotland.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Nicolas Walmsley after he did not answer a witness summons to attend the inquest of Leonie Davies in April.
Miss Davies, aged 25, of Monk Bretton, Barnsley, died from multiple crush injuries to her legs and lower body after being run over by a HGV lorry while walking along Pontefract Road, Lundwood, in the early hours of April 18, last year.
Her family chose to adjourn her inquest in the hope Walmsley could be brought before the court, but he was not found before the next hearing was held.
Walmsley appeared before assistant coroner Julian Fox at Sheffield Coroner’s Court after being arrested by police.
Walmsley, of Gate Crescent, Dodworth, told the court he had been working in Scotland for ‘not very nice men’ who treated him ‘like a slave’ and a letter requesting he attend the inquest had been sent to another address.
He said: “They aren’t very nice people. They rang someone in Barnsley and said that we need a kid who could drop some leaflets.
“They never paid me. They treated me like a slave.”
He added: “I couldn’t get away from Scotland.
“They weren’t nice people. They were threatening my family.”
Walmsley apologised for not attending and added: “I want to get over it and try to make better of my life. I didn’t miss it on purpose.”
Mr Fox said Walmsley’s absence had left Miss Davies’ family with unanswered questions.
He said: “Leonie’s family wanted to hear from you about how she came to die and as you can imagine they would have been extremely upset.
“As a result of your failure to attend, I imagine they are still left with nagging questions about how she died and you could have sorted that for them.”
The court heard Walmsley was also wanted in Barnsley Magistrates’ Court in relation to a criminal damage offence.
Mr Fox said because of these criminal proceedings he would not fine Walmsley or send him to prison.